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CRICKET - Varsity 2016 Four-Day Match Report

July 5th saw the beginning of the four-day Varsity match between Cambridge University Cricket Club (CUCC) and Oxford University Cricket Club (OUCC), held this year at The Parks, Oxford. The toss was won by OUCC who elected to bat first, on a pitch displaying cracks from the outset.

The OUCC first innings lasted a full day, and contained within it a dramatic swing of momentum. After opener R Heywood was dismissed by a brilliant ball from R Crichard, OUCC began to dominate. A 133-run stand between opener D Escott [36] and M Hughes [116] took Oxford to an impressive 150-2, despite some threatening bowling headed by Crichard and A Dalgleish. A sign of things to come occurred in the 39th over of the day, when A Patel dismissed Escott with a turning delivery. Hughes was dismissed 49 runs later, again by Patel, for a well-made century including 13 boundaries. From this point, however, the momentum began to turn as the ball did likewise. Settling into an imperious rhythm, Patel took 5-86. Oxford lost their final 7 wickets for just 68 runs and at the close of play, the game was in the balance once more after an impressive start from Oxford with the bat.

The CUCC first innings was a very different story. After both openers were dismissed cheaply, the rot did not stop and CUCC found themselves 9-4 in the 8th over. An important stand of 89 between captain J Abbott [53] and Dalgleish [41] echoed the partnership at Lord’s less than a week previous, before Dalgleish fell to M Dawes who again ended the pair’s good work. Some quick runs from P Tice [19] and a resolute innings from Crichard [27*] saw CUCC work hard for 182 all out in the 80th over of the day.

This left OUCC with an uncomfortable period to bat, but openers Heywood and Escott batted with discipline and walked off the field unscathed at the end of the day. The third-day saw many runs scored on a flattening wicket. Led by a good hundred from Escott [125] and Hughes once more [76], the OUCC batsmen looked comfortable and Oxford declared with a lead of 401. The CUCC batsmen were set the task of batting for a session and a day to save the game.

In the second innings, the CUCC batsmen performed with a greater sense of responsibility. A stand of 126 minutes between openers Colverd [36] and Chohan [83] set a good tone, and night-watchman Tice [41] saw CUCC to the close of play. The final day started well for CUCC, with both incumbent batsmen reaching lunch – this was much to the relief of Chohan who looked tired after his impressive time at the crease. However, soon after lunch Chohan gave his wicket away to T Claughton cutting a short ball into the hands of J Gnoode. Captain Abbott fell cheaply, and after over 4 hours at the crease Tice followed with the score at 200-4. A steady flow of wickets, orchestrated in chief by D Escott who took 6-71, was stemmed by a partnership of 39 between Patel [31] and Crichard [21], but Crichard’s dismissal left C Emerton and A Waghorn an uncomfortable 25 minutes to bat out for the draw. After a commendable effort, Emerton [6] was dismissed by captain J Marsden with 5 minutes left in the game. It was an agonizing end.

A fine game for the neutral, and a commendable effort by both teams; well played Oxford, but next year is new game at Fenner's.